By Charles Anike
As the 2023 general elections are drawing closer, the Obi movement, also known as Obidient movement, has been making waves and shaking the foundations of the political space of the country.
Before Peter Obi’s emergence as the candidate of the Labour Party, the norm in the Nigerian politics is the war chest. From the beginning of the process, ie party congresses, party primaries, etc, the horse trading always entails sharing of monies and/or other material things to get endorsement of the people.
But Obi, from inception, made his point clear that he doesn’t give shishi, meaning that he doesn’t give a dime to get endorsement or an influenced followership, unlike others who always believe that the people’s loyalty can only be bought with money. This different ideology explains why Peter Obi dumped the PDP for Labour Party.
The Obi ‘I don’t give Shishi’ ideology has gained currency among the Nigerian youths, who now distance themselves from the money bag politicians who have over the years enslaved Nigerians, especially the youths.
The emergence of Peter Obi becomes a sort of mental awaking and re-orientation among the Nigerian youths who hitherto have nothing to do with the Nigerian politics. They are beginning to have a change of mindset as many are not only showing interest and getting seriously involved, but now asking some salient questions from the sit-tight leaders of the country.
The awareness and consciousness that has greeted the Obi movement has encouraged many youths to roll up their sleeves to join the race, through ‘the operation take back our country campaign’. With the emergence of Obi, integrity and accountability have become the watchword in our political discussions. People are beginning to interrogate the antecedents of leaders, rather than the usual frivolities.
The emergence of Obi has become political renaissance in the political history of Nigeria and even beyond, as we now hear several reports of people from other nations of the world using Obi as a reference as they discuss the birth of a new dawn in Nigeria’s politics and praying that Nigerians should get it right this time around.
Recall that prior to the official lifting of the ban on political campaigns by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Obidient movement organized street rallies across the country: the very first time in Nigeria that the youths will aggregate resources to organize political rallies not funded by the candidate.
The emergence of Obi has forced the age-long political actors to begin to have a rethink on youth inclusiveness in the mainstream of the national politics, rather than using them only for thuggery and other dubious activities.
The Peter Obi candidacy has generated much dust in the camps of the ruling APC and the PDP. They see the Obidient ideology as a threat to their sources of survival. It has further exposed a lot of people who have over the years pretended to be the voice of the voiceless.
Before now, most Nigerian youths erronously saw them as role models, probably because of their propaganda gimmicks. Most of them are either products of broken homes or currently having broken homes, hence they hardly see anything good in good. Initially they disguised as human rights activists. These political jobbers in both PDP and APC have been unleashing terror on the Obi movement. They are hell-bent on forcing their expired drugs down our throats, but God forbid!
Therefore, the Peter Obi candidacy has helped to change the old narratives, old mindsets, political beliefs and activities of political propagandists, who usually capitalize on the political naivety of the majority to feed fat on our common wealth.
Anike is the National President,